On Sunday, five missiles were fired at a US air base in Iraq, in an attack that reflects tensions between Iran and the United States in a country caught up in the conflict between its two allies.
A security source told AFP that the five missiles that were fired at Balad base north of Baghdad hit a common dormitory and canteen owned by the American company Sallyport, without specifying whether there were any casualties.
F-16s are parked at Balad base, where several maintenance companies employ Iraqi and foreign employees.
The attack was not immediately announced, but Washington regularly accuses Iraqi armed groups close to Iran, the enemy of the United States, of targeting its forces and diplomats in Iraq.
In total, about 20 bomb or missile attacks have targeted bases housing US soldiers or diplomatic representatives since Joe Biden took office in late January, while scores have occurred since the fall of 2019 under the Donald Trump administration.
The attacks on Wednesday reached a new level: For the first time, Iraqi factions loyal to Iran launched a drone attack on American facilities at Erbil airport in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (north).
The progress came during a period of tension between Washington and Tehran over the Iranian nuclear file.
In attacks recorded since late 2019, two Americans were killed, along with an Iraqi civilian.
An Iraqi man working for a US F-16 aircraft maintenance company for the Iraqi army was injured in Balad on February 21. The base was targeted again on April 4, this time without casualties.
Experts analyze their responsibility for these attacks, at times by unknown groups, and the fronts of armed groups loyal to Iran, which have been present in the country for a long time, citing the sermons of the leaders of these factions, who regularly threaten to “attack more often and with greater force.” American soldier stationed in Iraq.
On April 7, Washington and Baghdad resumed the “strategic dialogue” that should lead to a timetable for the withdrawal of the international coalition that moved in 2014 to fight the jihadist Islamic State (ISIS).
Declared enemies, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States have a presence or allies in Iraq.
The United States has about 2,500 troops in Iraq, and Iran supports, among others, the Hashd al-Shaabi, a coalition of paramilitary groups incorporated into the country.
Mustafa Al-Kazemi’s Iraqi government, seen as more pro-American than its predecessor, is regularly threatened by Iranians.
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